Preparing for spring

I know I’ve been MIA lately but that’s because the garden has been calling to me to prepare for the upcoming season.  After having a couple of days of extreme lows we’re looking forward to a mild weekend with temps in the 60’s!  Yippee!!!!   You have to take advantage of nice days at this time of the year to do some yard work .  Here’s what I’ve been up to in the past couple of days. 

Hydrangea 'Limelight'

Hydrangea 'Limelight'

Now is the time to prune the Limelight Hydranga I have growing in my garden.   This can be done in late fall or early spring since it blooms on new wood.  I like to leave the dried blossoms on it through the winter for interest.   First I clipped off all the old brown blossoms and then I trimmed it back removing any suckers and limbs that were rubbing against each other.   It is very tolerant of a severe pruning.  If you cut the plant back from 1/2 to 1/3 it will result in larger flowers in the summer.  Last year I didn’t prune it back at all and it did great, this year I pruned it back by 1/3 to keep it between 6-7′ in height.  The Mopheads and Lacecap Hydrangeas since they bloom on mainly old wood should be pruned right after they finish blooming in the spring and summer.  I do cut any dead or winter damaged parts off in the spring however. 

The Rose Garden

The Rose Garden

 

This was also a good time to start cutting back the numerous roses I have growing in my garden.  The Knockouts can be cut back to 12-18″ from the ground.  While the hybrids are trimmed into a vase shape removing old and crossing canes for better circulation and disease prevention.  My climbing rose will be only have a slight trim to remove any dead or winter damage this spring.  As you can see I still have one more Knockout Rose to cut back.  They have some deadly thorns and tend to rip your hands and arms to arms up pretty good without heavy leather gloves.  Of course I forgot to grab my gloves before tackling the others and have the battle wounds as a reminder for next time.  🙂

Purple Fountain Grass

Purple Fountain Grass

Here’s what left of the Purple Fountain Grass that was growing in the New Garden last season.  It is considered an annual in my zone 7b garden.  However when I was cutting it back to the ground I found some green bits so I might see if it comes back before removing the rootball.  If not it can be easily found in the local garden centers come May and grows rapidly in one season.  Leaving it up throughout the past few months did provide some winter interest in this new bed. 

Sweet Autumn Clematis

Sweet Autumn Clematis

You can see the bare bones of SAC with it’s severe trim job now.  If I didn’t keep this one in check it would be the only thing growing in this corner come next summer.  It will continue to get some light haircuts right up until the end of  June to keep it within the boundaries of my garden.  Now all I have left to trimback  is a couple more Knockout Roses (one is in my Grandma’s Garden bed) and the Butterfly Bush out front.  What’s next?  Well come the middle of March I will be raking out the leaves and putting down fresh mulch.  Feels good to be back in the garden again!

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19 responses to this post.

  1. You have been a busy little bee! Good Job, only wish I had a SAC right now to prune, LOL. I gues I can cut my Double Knockout roses this weekend. So looking forward to some warm weather!!

    Thanks Darla, it felt good to be able to do something outside for a change. Don’t fret, you’ll have a SAC to prune back before you know it. 🙂 Definitely take care of those double knockouts, they’ll thank you for it come May.

    Reply

  2. Calling for good weather here too. In fact, I should be out there right now-but I am not. Next week maybe. I really need to cut my stuff back. I think I will cut my Limelight too. I wasn’t sure if I would, but you’ve inspired me.

    Hope you get some time to get out into the garden Tina. Glad I inspired you to give Limelight a trim. I don’t think you’ll be sorry.

    Reply

  3. Hi Racquel, real live gardening! Hooray! I hope your purple fountain grass comes back, that would be great. We are only 7a but in Houston it did come back, but even there was very late to emerge so give it plenty of time before throwing in the towel. I have Annabelle which I think it related to Limelight and have never pruned it before. Now I know it is okay, thanks!
    Frances

    Thanks Frances, I’m pretty happy about it! It would be great if the Purple Fountain Grass came back, so I’m going to cross my fingers. It does seem to be slow about doing anything initially. Annabelle is another cultivar of Hydrangea I need to add to my garden. She blooms on new wood too, you could even cut her to the ground and she would come back. 🙂 YW!

    Reply

  4. My Limelight has to grow a lot more before I take the pruners to it. Wish mine looked like yours! I can still see the pictures you showed last year. I remember your love affair with it and rightly so!

    Give it a few years Anna and yours will be magnificent! Yep I am definitely in love with Limelight, she is a fantastic specimen!

    Reply

  5. It looks like you’ve been awfully busy lately. Spring is still a way off up here, but I got my tabletop greenhouse all set up finally. I hope to start some seeds soon. It’s supposed to be in the high 30’s this weekend so I hope to get a bit done outside too.

    Yep I am taking advantage of these mild days cause our weather can be quite unpredictable in Feb. Look forward to seeing the progress you make with your tabletop greenhouse Cinj! Have a nice weekend in the yard. 🙂

    Reply

  6. Hi Racquel…it is going to be a beautiful few days and a perfect time for spring cleaning! I was wondering myself when to remove the leaves…and mulch. Have you noticed any spring ephemerals popping up…I see a few Dutchman’s britches peaking up…soon the Spring Beauties will arrive. Have a delicious weekend! Gail

    Hi Gail, I’m going to wait until March to remove those leaves just in case we have any late winter surprises. 🙂 I haven’t noticed any ephemerals yet, but then again most of the beds are buried under a layer of leaves. I might have to brush some aside and take a peak. Thanks for the reminder! The spring bulbs are popping up everywhere I look even in spots I forgot about, lol.

    Reply

  7. I am in zone 5b, so it’s too early for the kind of work you’re doing. It is currently 64, though, and I have some bulbs peeking through the soil. I want to have my husband help me make a hoop house or some kind of cold frame to plant some lettuce, spinach, and radishes in.

    Happy almost spring,
    Sue

    Wow you having a nice day Sue! It was in the 40’s here today which was better than the 20’s the day before. 🙂 Good luck with your hoop house for your cool season veggies!

    Reply

  8. Oh Racquel, you are so right, time to get out in the garden this weekend!! Hopefully I will get a lot done. Good to have the truck on Saturday to take pruning stuff to the dump!
    Janet

    Have a good time in your garden Janet, I plan on taking advantage of the nice temps too! 🙂 We put anything I can’t compost on the curb and they pick it up weekly.

    Reply

  9. Hi Racquel, you sure have gotten alot accomplished! Sounds like spring is in the air in your garden. Enjoy your wonderful mild-weather weekend!

    We’re expecting 50’s tomorrow, but there are inches of snow still to melt and the ground is frozen solid. Maybe by Sunday we’ll actually be able to see grass and mulch again, brown though it may be.

    And my body is feeling it too Linda, lol! Thanks I am taking advantage of this spring like weather to get ahead of the garden chores this spring. That snow should melt off quick with 50 degree temps. Brown will be a change from all that white I guess. 🙂

    Reply

  10. February is the month I prune too, but it will have to wait another week or so. I can’t wait for March and time to get rid of all the leaves. I am so sick of dead leaves! And the wind is so bad today it is blowing them faster than I can get them up! Grrrrr… 🙂
    Have a great weekend Racquel!

    Yep I’m tired of the leaves too Linda. But that soil underneith looks rich & healthy! 🙂 Have a nice weekend and I hope your wind dies down soon.

    Reply

  11. Isn’t it amazing how Winter reduces plants to their bare bones? Your Purple Fountain grass has a shot if you’re seeing something new already. It always depends on the severity of the Winter. I once covered mine here in Portland and it came back. When I tried the same thing in Reno…….no way. But that plant is pretty heavenly, all righty. I love the Lacecap varieties of Hygrangea’s too. In fact, I much prefer them. Anyway, it won’t be long now for any of us ’til we can look out at all this Spring Muscle flexing.

    Hi Steve, it is amazing how different the plants look in winter. Thanks for the vote of confidence with the Purple Fountain Grass. I’ve never been successful with it coming back in the past but maybe I dug it up too soon. My Lacecap Hydrangea is pretty low maintenance compared to the mopheads, but I still love my Limelight the best. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by today.

    Reply

  12. How are you going to trim your butterfly bush back? I planted one last year and am not sure what to do with it – it was absolutely stunning last year and can’t wait to see it in its full glory again. I’ve heard you can be pretty vigorous with trimming these guys — would love to know your plan!

    Hi Anne, I give my Butterfly Bush a severe haircut every spring. Otherwise it would be as tall as my house in one season! I cut it back to about 12″ from the ground. They bloom off of new wood so before you know it you’ll have beautiful new shoots.

    Reply

  13. I had a prepare for spring day here myself. Check by my blog. I’ve got something for you.

    Good for you Deb, it feels great to get back out in the garden! Thanks for the award!

    Reply

  14. Gee, Raquel, I’m really surprised it’s okay for you to be pruning like this so early. I guess if you have another freeze it wouldn’t hurt the woody hydrangeas? My purple fountain grass is completely brown after the last two freezes we just had. It was blooming beautifully right before that. I will cut it back to about a foot tall in a couple of weeks. Now you have me thinking I might not need to be cautious with it. Maybe I could go ahead and prune it now. hmmmm… and I’ve been trying to be such a good girl and not start pruning like a mad woman.
    BTW – your fountain grass should be fine as long as you see green.

    I SOOOOOO wish I could grow limelight here. If I could I’d absolutely make certain I had an entire hedge of it. It is so gorgeous. Can’t wait to see yours blooming again… I remember admiring it last year.

    Isn’t it great to be in the garden!!
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    Meems @ Hoe and Shovel

    It isn’t too early with these woody specimens since they aren’t putting out new shoots yet. You should be fine with pruning in your area Meems even though you had that freak heavy frost this week. Thanks for the tip on the Purple Fountain Grass. I love it so but have always had to replant it each year. Luckily it is fairly easy to find each summer and grows very fast. I wish you could grow Limelight too, it is such a nice Hydrangea with no real issues. The mopheads tend to be so fussy that it is a real pleasure to grow this cultivar. Thanks Meems! Have a nice weekend in the garden as will I! 🙂

    Reply

  15. Action, action and more action. Isn’t it the busiest time of year! I’ve never seen a limelight before! Would love it see it in full life.

    It will just get busier as the weeks past Chandramouli. You can see pictures of it in full glory by going to my categories drop down in the sidebar and clicking on Hydrangeas. Posted lots of photos this past summer! 🙂

    Reply

  16. Racquel,
    Didn’t it feel great to get out there and do some gardening! Once our SAC gets growing good I’m going to get in touch with you about pruning tips. I’m sure we will need some. 🙂

    It was a wonderful few days Randy, I got more done today. Okay, just let me know when you get ready to give your SAC a haircut.

    Reply

  17. I like pruning and cutting back, very soothing. Doing roses is another matter. My climber hooks itself in my hair, clothing and gloves, never mind the scratches. I always end up all hot and bothered and with my eyes half closed just in case I get poked in the eye. It’s a relief when it’s all over (lol)

    It isn’t my favorite work to be honest but very necessary. At this time of the year EG I’ll take what I can get. 😉 I know what you mean about the roses, they are dangerous creatures always trying to bite you. lol Glad when it’s over that’s for sure.

    Reply

  18. I was able to work in my garden today and trimmed back my roses. My sweet autumn clematis looks so good; I hate to trim it back. But, you are right, it will take over if left alone. It is good to get out in the garden, isn’t it?

    Jan
    Always Growing

    Sounds like we both had a productive day in the garden Jan and yes it was so great! 🙂

    Reply

  19. It’s been 68 degrees here today Racquel! I am going outside right now to do a little hair cut on a few of my things, such as my butterfly bush and some plants like mums, phlox, salvia, hyssop, and others…Also the crepe myrtles need cutting back but my hubby might do that as they’ve gotten pretty tall. I also have a ton of raking to do as lots of leaves stayed in the gardens even though we had a crew working in here getting them out at least 3 times. This is the price we pay for more trees than I care to have. They do provide some nice shade in the hot summers, though.
    Yippee for you, Racquel! I am inspired to do some of the same!!

    Reply

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